What does it really take ($$) to start up a lab?

Jan 19 2010 Published by under Conduct of Science

We've touched on this a time or two but Professor In Training has a brilliant bit up about the many costs associated with starting a new laboratory program. How far will those startup dollars really take you, anyway?
a teaser:

And if you inherit a completely empty lab like I did, you'll need to spend a ton of cash on basic stuff like beakers, flasks, bottles, weigh boats, pipettes, mini-centrifuges, electrophoresis rigs, etc. Each of these items are relatively inexpensive but the costs of buying all of them in one hit starts to add up very, very quickly. Throw in delivery charges for everything. $50 here. $30 there. New primary antibodies? $350 each plus $50 delivery. How many antibodies do you need? One? Ten? Watch the dollars fly out the door. And don't forget you need secondary antibodies. And reagents. And tubes. And slides. What about basic chemicals? Any EDTA on your shelves? NaCl? PBS?

Go Read.

4 responses so far

  • brigitte says:

    Yes, it takes money but a little bit less that a ton of money. Since you are a young investigator with a new lab, and you are driven to science, your senior and better equipped colleagues will be willing to help you lending you small instruments, accessories etc, that they might have in excess, until you have more grant money. This time is a great opportunity for getting to know people in your Department and other Departments ( for big specialized instruments you may have to resort to those), learn about their projects and having feedback that could be applicable to your own one, imagining possible collaborations etc. Remember that the enthusiasm and innocence of the beginners is a great push for making your way into a consistent life as scientist

  • Josh says:

    And this is why I am a theoretician.

  • Since you are a young investigator with a new lab, and you are driven to science, your senior and better equipped colleagues will be willing to help you lending you small instruments, accessories etc, that they might have in excess, until you have more grant money.

    AHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA!! That's funny. What if your colleagues either aren't basic scientists or are holding onto their dwindling labs and equipment with a deathlike grip? Or if they are of the "it was harder in my lab back in the day when we had to mouth pipette and walk to work barefoot in 10ft snowdrifts so you should suffer, too."

  • brigitte says:

    Professor in Training,
    I know what you mean ! And your *what if* are real!!!.
    What are your alternatives to change those "what if" ?!?!?!. There is the possibility of working together on those if the options are rational.

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